• Kate Hanfling

Library Favorites: Momma Tree by Charles Long


Hello again, everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading about three great resources for kids to learn about dirt and soil. If you missed it, you can check out our inaugural book blog here. This month, we’re celebrating Earth Month by taking a look at Momma Tree by Charles Long. Last month’s books were great resources for older children (K-5th ish) to learn about the science of soil. Momma Tree is a beautiful book that, while it can teach younger children (PreK-1st ish) about the basic science of trees, is much more a meditation on the beauty of nature and the interconnectedness of life that children and adults of all ages can appreciate.


In the book, a young girl finds her mother outside practicing tree pose and “pretending to be a tree.” The girl joins her mother, and together they pretend to eat the sunshine by stretching their arms towards the sky, drink rainwater from the ground through their feet, breathe the air through their fingers, dance with the wind, send their roots deep into the earth, and rest through the winter. Through this year-long meditative practice, the young girl develops a deeper relationship with her mother and learns to feel the interconnectedness and beauty of nature living within her. Ultimately, Momma Tree is a reflection on how the cycles of nature support all life, told through the easily understood bond between a parent and child.


You can see how the movements and practices in Momma Tree would be an excellent way for children to appreciate the environment through movement. Teachers could ask their students to perform the same actions while reading the book aloud in class. For example, “reach way up high and stretch your leaves towards the sun!” Dancing with the wind, especially, is an opportunity for children to get their wiggles out. Teachers can encourage students to imagine moving in a light breeze, then in a stronger wind, then in a very windy day before slowing back down and being still, grounding themselves by imagining the tree’s roots slowly digging deep into the earth. This book also works perfectly as a bedtime story; parents can read it with their children while doing some relaxing stretches and deep breathing before sleep. Because of its relaxed pace, the book also works as a calming guided meditation. Children can lie back and imagine the warm sun on their face and the wet ground under their feet.


Whether it’s used as a scientific introduction, a calming practice, or just as a simple story before bed, Momma Tree is a beautiful book. I highly recommend you add it to your collection. If you choose to buy through Amazon, please use Amazon Smile and designate the Accokeek Foundation as your supported organization. If you do use Momma Tree in your home, library, or classroom I would love to hear about it. Email me at education@accokeek.org.


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